Mental Health and Infertility

Has infertility hijacked your life? The emotional stresses women face with infertility are similar to cancer and cardiac patients. Here is the thing – we don’t talk about infertility. What do we typically do when someone we love is struggling with an illness? We bring them flowers, make them dinners, volunteer to help with household chores, cards are written, prayer chains begin, and we devote our time and love to those who are struggling.

Have you ever done this for someone who is infertile?

Typical reactions to infertility can lead to anxiety, depression, shame, failure and psychological problems. Sadness is a normal reaction to unfortunate events. Infertility places tremendous pressure on a couple. The financial stress, besides the emotional and physical stress can damage a relationship. Let’s face it – infertility can have negative affects on your daily life, especially when it’s the only topic on your mind all day.

You Are Not Alone.

My own personal experience with infertility-related depression and anxiety has been difficult. My hysterectomy was two years ago next month. I admit, I have always had an anxious personality. My depression was fueled by my environment and circumstance as a teenager and young adult. When I finally found myself in a good, happy place in life – the depression returned when I couldn’t have biological children. I reached out to all the correct outlets to help myself. I have been medicated, through counseling, and joined a support group with other women who have been traveling the same road of struggle. I fear I will have pain for the rest of my life – but I took a photo after my surgery to remind me of the reality I went through. I can look at the photo and remind myself where I was and how strong I have become. I was easily frustrated and angry for a solid year after my hysterectomy. Please seek counseling if you are feeling any of these emotions – my co-workers and loved ones became my punching bag.

Focus on Self-Care

I believed that I was suffering in silence. When you are depressed, it takes a great amount of energy to complete the smallest tasks. How was I suppose to exercise when I couldn’t even get out of bed? Infertility is a stigma. Besides my therapist and my husband – I felt like nobody knew what the hell I was talking about. We need to learn how to take care of ourselves. Time, therapy and medication have made life easier for me. Therapy isn’t only for “serious” mental health problems, anyone can benefit from talk therapy.

Can I Win My Life Back?

If you are feeling broken or defective, try and believe that infertility won’t define you as a person or a couple. I have shed many tears over my loss. Infertility can leave you feeling isolated and alone. How do we find acceptance? There is no right way to work through your grief. When you start to reclaim your life back – you can start researching other ways to have a family, (if that is an option for you.) Adoption, surrogacy, living without children, or just keeping hope alive, may be what’s best for you. Grieving and growing.

Do you think you will send that card to someone who is dealing with infertility or loss?

Stop the Stigma.

Published by

The Infertility Doula

I am a infertile woman with no biological children. My infertility stems from endometriosis and adenomyosis. I work and live in Duluth, Minnesota. I am married with five dogs and have an adult stepdaughter.

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